Nipple Reconstruction

Nipple areola reconstruction is the making of the nipple projection on a reconstructed breast. This is normally done as one of the final stages in the breast reconstruction journey.

Alternatives to nipple reconstruction

  • Leave, do nothing.
  • Prosthetic nipple.
  • 3D Nipple tattooing.

The Procedure

Nipple reconstruction is a surgical procedure, under a local anaesthetic as a day case.

The skin on the breast mound is cut and moved around to produce the projection usually with dissolvable sutures (Stitches). The projection is initially made larger than required as the projection often shrinks post operatively.

You will have small scars around the nipple projection. These scars can be disguised at the final stage of the process, nipple areola tattooing.

Once the breast has been reconstructed, a new nipple may be recreated by raising small flaps of skin and closing them around some fatty tissue. Once this has healed micro pigmentation (medical tattooing) is used to shade in the areola, which can also help to disguise the scars.


Nipple reconstruction may not be suitable for patients who have had previous radiotherapy, certain scars or implant reconstructions. The thin skin flaps are vulnerable in smokers as well. In these cases micro pigmentation alone may be used to recreate the illusion of the nipple-areola complex.


On leaving hospital you will have a dressing on. This is to be kept dry and intact for approximately one week. An appointment will be made for you to attend the Nurse Led Breast Clinic to have the dressing removed and after care advice will be given.

BRA Meetings

Meetings are held on Tuesday afternoons either virtually via Microsoft Teams video conferencing or face to face at St Andrews Hospital outpatients department.